Daria Bilodid fled Ukraine after suffering depression due to the conflict ©Getty Images

Ukrainian Olympic bronze medallist Daria Bilodid has disclosed that she was in a "state of depression" after Russia invaded her country on February 24.

The day before Russia’s attack, judoka Bilodid trained as normal and dined out with her mother, Svitlana Kuznetsova, but everything changed the next morning when war started.

In an interview with the European Judo Union, the 21-year-old, who won bronze in the women's under-48 kilograms category at Tokyo 2020, described what she experienced.

"In just a few days, my reality was very different," the two-time judo world champion said.

"Leaving and seeing so many cars, everyone was in shock and it was mentally a very difficult thing to see.

"Now, in our hearts we want to be there, we want to be back soon but right now we should continue to live the best we can.

"Judo has helped me so much, to be strong mentally and training again is good for my soul."

Bilodid spent the next 10 days in the western Ukrainian city of Uzhhorod, where she assisted to feed and provide clothing for others who had fled the conflict as a part of an organisation with her friends and others.

As more people began to flee to the west, Uzhhorod became more and more populated with women and children in shock.

Five days into the war, events had taken a toll on Bilodid and she realised she could not stay in the country.

Bilodid said: "Physically I couldn’t do anything and was in a state of depression, I needed to be able to function, it was my judo mentality."

The two-time European champion is now safely based 3,400 kilometres away from her home in Valencia in Spain with her mother and grandmother.

It was decided after a meeting with Marius Vizer, the President of the International Judo Federation in Budapest, that their passage to Valencia involved going through Slovenia, Italy and France.

Bilodid, who has received supportive messages from the global judoka community, is using the judo training facility in Valencia that is run by Spain’s Sugoi Uriarte and Laura Gómez.

Uriarte is a World Championship silver medallist while Gómez is a European Championship bronze medallist.

"People here are amazing, to both myself and to my family," Bilodid said.

"It was really hard to leave my life but it was also a big lesson for me.

"I’ve always had a plan and now I know I can lose it all in an instant.

"Now all I want to do is get help to those at home, the photos you see don’t do it any justice everything is destroyed, but there is still everything to gain.

"Our lives, our homes, we want it all back and to help those that are struggling, whether it be through food or health support.

"We want our freedom."